AARP NY Calls on Governor for Further Action to Ensure New Yorkers Can Vote Safely


ALBANY, N.Y.— AARP New York is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to ensure every registered New York voter receives an absentee ballot application, along with a pre-addressed, postage paid return envelope, as part of an effort to allow all voters to make their voices heard safely in the November 3 general election.


AARP New York is also urging the Governor to expand early voting to weekends, provide for appointments for early voting and curbside voting if possible, and potentially extend deadlines for submission of final ballot counts. The recommendations are part of AARP’s 2020 voter engagement effort, which prioritizes affording as many safe voting options as possible in light of the coronavirus pandemic.


The Governor recently signed a new law allowing voters to cite concern about the coronavirus as a legitimate reason to vote by absentee ballot November 3.


“Older New Yorkers should not have to risk their lives or their health to exercise their right to vote,” AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel wrote in a letter to the Governor, noting COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on the health of older people. “New York should take aggressive action now to ensure that all registered voters can cast their ballots safely and securely, whether they choose to do so in person or by mail.”


AARP is urging the Governor to take the following measures:


  • Provide pre-addressed, postage paid envelopes for all absentee ballot applications and ballots and send all voters an absentee ballot application with a clear explanation of how to exercise their right to vote with all the absentee and in-person options available to them;


  • Expand early voting periods, including adding Saturday and Sunday voting;


  • Provide for appointments for early voting and curbside voting, if possible;


  • If necessary, extend deadlines for local election officials to submit final ballot counts to accommodate the increased volume of absentee ballots.


  • Provide notice to voters as far in advance of election day as possible if polling locations are consolidated, preferably at least 30 days before the election;


  • Ensure adequate trained staff, sorting and counting equipment to handle the expected increased volume of absentee ballots;


  • Ensure election officials are provided clear chain of custody guidelines for handling ballots throughout the entire process;


  • Recruit poll workers early, including among state and local government employees, as well as local university and high school students;


  • Maintain as many polling places as possible, with the goal of having as many as would normally be open, if not more, to avoid long lines and crowded polling locations and;


  • Follow best practices to ensure that polling locations are sanitary, including providing appropriate personal protective equipment for all poll workers and taking all other necessary measures to ensure in-person voting can be accomplished as safely as possible for all concerned.

AARP New York noted that sending absentee ballot applications and ballots to voters would be “especially useful for those who are in long-term care centers, medical facilities, or quarantined due to the virus.” The Association also urged the state to schedule its delivery of applications and ballots to give voters ample time to return completed ballots in time for them to be counted.

AARP is a non-partisan social mission organization that does not endorse candidates or contribute to candidates or political parties. AARP aims to provide information on key issues to voters so they can make informed decisions when voting.

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.